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About Petronillus

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Glen Ellyn, Illinois
  • Interests
    social (non-competitive) ballroom dancing, mystery novels
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America Line
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    St. Petersburg, Russia

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241 profile views
  1. Thank you for your kind wishes. You make me think of the best Thanksgiving holidays we have celebrated. On at least three occasions, the 5 of us (myself, DW, and 3 children) all spent a 4-day weekend in Montreal. Leaving on Thanksgiving Day itself, we had O'Hare airport all to ourselves. We stayed at the Hotel Bonaventure, a 3-storey hotel on top of Place Bonaventure, the convention centre. It has a year-round open-air swimming pool. I remember enjoying the pool at 11:00 pm when the temperature was at 11 degrees Fahrenheit. It was glorious. Because Canadian Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in October, we took advantage of the weekend rates and had the most wonderful time. Montreal is a beautiful city even in late November.
  2. Wow! To my mind, that series of lectures is worth the price of admission all by itself. I thought Maasdam was the only ship that offered these lectures on history, culture, and civilization. Do you just luck into these or did you know in advance? If so, how? Were the lectures highlighted on the HAL website?
  3. Very interesting dynamic going on with this thread. Like many others here, I have never previously heard of an "interline" rate. It sounds like a special deal that is available only to travel-industry insiders (kind of like flying on stand-by?), that comes with certain restrictions and risks, and that the insiders are expected to keep a low profile about. If all of the foregoing is accurate, it sounds (to me, at least) like the OP was ill-advised by his TA, neglected the fine print to his peril, and is now churlishly lashing out at HAL. I too toss kudos to VennDiagram for solving the mystery.
  4. It reminds me of the lesson that you don't know how good your insurance company or coverage is until you have a claim. It is great reassurance to know that HAL came through in your time of need. Here's hoping for a swift and complete recovery -- and a boatload of blessings!
  5. Reverende: It's a wonderful tribute to HAL that you've chosen to sail as a paying customer all the way to 3-star Mariner status. When you sail as a passenger, I infer that there is still a Catholic chaplain engaged as part of the Service Staff. Do you help out in any way? Concelebrating perhaps? I imagine it would happen only rarely that an "official" chaplain would not welcome your presence and active participation.
  6. From your 5000+ posts I see that you are far more a regular on CC than I am, and so I infer that you have cruised often on lines other than HAL. DW and I have grown accustomed to HAL; we've just reached 3* Mariner status, and have sailed on R-class, Vista class, and Pinnacle-class ships. Each ship and each class of ships have their own personality and individuality, but I can't say that I've noticed differences in standards that can't be attributed to the vagaries of different climates. For instance, our experience on board the Rotterdam in the Baltic Sea was much different from what we experienced on the Koningsdam in the Caribbean, but a ship grappling with the inclement weather of northern Europe gets stressed in ways that island-hopping in the Caribbean doesn't come close to approaching. But we've always found HAL to be HAL, and never encountered anything like the horrors OP has reported. I trust OP and will think twice (or more) before planning a voyage on the Maasdam, but I'm not deterred or apprehensive about our upcoming PC transit. Just keep an open mind about the Noordam. Don't expect a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley. HAL is not in that business. Can you travel comfortably in a Buick? If so, chances are that your expectations will be met and maybe even exceeded. I genuinely wish you all the best.
  7. I'm probably betraying a personal bias here, but it seems to me that the role of EXC guide requires a "higher" level of skill and expertise than that of a cruise director. I recognize that cruise director requires a certain personality type (the schmoozer, if you will) that will ill suit many of the more scholarly EXC guides. I've come to expect that if the CD is giving a talk on an upcoming port of call, the content will be heavy on shopping opportunities and light on history, art, and culture. I'm far more interested in the latter than the former.
  8. I think it's more a question of whether a CD has what it takes to serve as an EXC guide.
  9. (Emphasis mine.) You know, there must be someone on staff at HAL whose responsibility it is to monitor this board and report to management. Can anyone here on CC confirm? I agree that the elimination of the lecturer/guide is short-sighted in the extreme. With all due respect to the CD, I don't expect him/her to be expert on the history, culture, and significance of the sights we are seeing and the ports we are visiting. I don't expect the person who runs the trivia contest and introduces the entertainment to have the gravitas to make me sit up and listen about the loftier, more transcendent aspects of the itinerary. Short-sighted indeed.
  10. I agree that Glenn Michael is a gem. We were on the Baltic leg of your same Rotterdam cruise, and DW & I found him delightful. A mesmerizing storyteller with an amazing feel for cultural nuance.
  11. The pdf worked perfectly. Thanks for forwarding the article. It's great to hear that San Miguel is still going strong, and as charming as ever. When I was there, there was a sizeable expat community, and the city thrived as an artist colony centered on the Escuela and as a center of Spanish language instruction. Woefully few of us Americans appreciate the depth of Mexican history and culture.
  12. I've been told that Cancun is just like Miami, . . except they speak Spanish in Miami. :-)
  13. I'm wondering if there's a prevailing opinion on this board about the current status of Mexico as a vacation destination. Years ago I spent a delightful week in San Miguel de Allende. DW & I have enjoyed the hospitality of the Dreams all-inclusive resort in Huatulco. We have cruised the Mexican Riviera and had a great time in all the ports of call. I know that among third world countries Mexico ranks in the very top tier. But now we hear about the horrendous fate of that LDS family in the State of Sonora (nowhere near a cruise port, obviously!) that were either targeted as Americans or caught in the crossfire between rival drug cartels. We're about to return to Huatulco as part of our upcoming PC transit cruise, as well as other ports along the Mexican Pacific coast, and what should our attitude be? Guarded optimism? Carefree, as long as we stay close by the ship? Carefree, as long as we venture out only under the protection of a HAL-booked excursion? What about independent operators (like Shore Excursion Group)? Should it be out of the question to engage ad hoc tour guides from the portside taxi stands? DW has expressed apprehension about Mexico in the past. I've told her that her concerns (in the case of Huatulco, for instance) were like fearing to visit the Grand Canyon because of muggings in Central Park. Now, I'm not so confident. I'd appreciate hearing the viewpoints of the denizens of the CC HAL forum.
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